A recent attempt to visit a weekend flea market was cancelled due to overnight rains the night before. Fortunately, that led to our exploration of a unique furniture emporium, Deja Vu in Londonderry, NH.
Last weekend was sunny and warm so we stopped at two popular outdoor flea markets in Hollis and Londonderry, NH. The Hollis market (7 miles away) is only open on Sundays; Londonderry (9 miles) is open both weekend mornings. The two markets are about a 30-minute drive apart so we visited them on separate days as we really like to linger and look, even if we don't buy.
The term flea market is generally considered to originate with the French marché aux puces an outdoor bazaar in Paris, France. It translates to "market of the fleas" and likely referred to flea-infested used merchandise. Not to be confused with swap meets which can involve strictly swapping goods with no money involved, flea markets usually deal exclusively in the exchange of cash for transactions.
Flea market selling is distinguished from street vending in that the market itself, and not any other public attraction, brings in the buyers. There's a variety of vendors — some part-time sellers consider their sales a hobby due to a "regular" job; full-time sellers dedicate full time to their stalls and collection of merchandise and rely solely on profits made selling at the market.
Different English-speaking countries use various names for flea markets. In Australian English, they are called trash and treasure markets. In the UK, they're known as car boot sales.If the event takes place in a field or car park, vendors will sell goods from the boot (trunk) of their car. If held indoors in a school or church hall, it's usually known as a jumble sale, or bring-and-buy sale. In Quebec, like France, they're often called Marché aux puces (flea markets). In Japan, where the words flea and free are transcribed in the same Japanese phonetic letters, the term free market has gained wide use.
The Londonderry Flea Market is situated on about 30 acres and hosts a variety of sellers selling goods ranging from antiques to toiletries. Many sellers have permanent locations, others are there on an intermittent basis.
Regular vendors who sell the entire season usually bring in new or different items to add to their inventory. There are also weekend sellers, many of these are yard sellers who only rent space to sell items no longer needed in their own homes and who prefer not to have home yard sales.
Like all outdoor markets, open hours are weather dependent and the Londonderry market is open Saturdays and Sundays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m, from April to October. Parking is $1.50 and free for seniors, like ourselves.
The Hollis Flea Market in operation since 1964 is considered among the oldest running flea markets in NH. Vendors are spread across over 20 acres with up to 400 vendors on any given Sunday morning. Early bird shoppers have been counted at over a thousand. This flea market is a family run affair and is currently in its second generation of owners.
Since it's a weekly market, there's many regular vendors. Like at Londonderry, there are sellers who would rather tout their wares to an established crowd rather than at a private yard sale. This ensures there's usually a wide variety of items from antiques to new or nearly so.
As at Londonderry, there is parking fee which is slightly higher at $2 with no discounts. There's also a food concession with outdoor seating available. This market is just down the road from a state recreation area, typically a police officer is directing pedestrian crossings as there's two areas to the market.
While we don't
always hardly buy at these markets, the low cost/free admission is worth the time spent looking and sometimes seeing things that bring back a memory or two. Yes, sometimes Grenville or myself will make a purchase as you never know when you'll find that great deal.
How about you — do you enjoy these types of sales?